Top 16 places to visit in France!
Top 16 Places To Visit in France
We’ve covered all regions of France in our various motorhome’s over the past couple of decades. For us, it’s a little bit like playing a favourite song on repeat! So, it makes sense to share our favourite places and bring you our Top 16 places to Visit in France!
France is so comforting in so many ways yet familiar whilst often feeling as if we’re in another era. Above all it lifts our spirits and no matter how often we visit, it still leaves us wanting more!
There’s no particular region that we prefer, in fact I’d go as far as to say that we love all of France, especially it’s motorhome friendly Aire system.
Certainly, there’s no doubt that some places do leave more of a lasting impression. It’s when you have those unique “WOW” factor moments, when your eyes first catch a glance of the most awesome sight whether it be natural or man-made.
Finally, many parts of France offer a unique, special element that often takes your breath away!
Here’s our Top 16 places to visit in France
1. The Postman’s Palace
The correct title of The Postman’s Palace is actually “Palais Idéal du Facteur Cheval“. It’s a palace like no other. You probably haven’t seen anything like it before and you’re unlikely to see anything like it again!
So what is it exactly? Well, this is the result of the eccentric imagination of Ferdinand Cheval. He was a local postman who went about his daily rounds a little differently to your average postie.
Each day he began collecting stones before using them in an extraordinary project.Then he started to build this ingenious, elaborate masterpiece resembling more of a Hollywood film set than an actual building.
Taking over thirty three years to finish, this incredible structure stands in the middle of the French countryside.
There is an Aire close by and an entry fee to visit the fabulous creation.
Picture the prettiest of French villages and perch it high into the side of a cliff face. Then add the ancient footings of a Medieval past and surround it with the romance of a Provencial countryside.
This is Moustier! Typically a part of France that is exquisite and magical. When you first catch a glimpse upon the tiered stone dwellings, clinging to the rock face, it has you instantly drawn in.
Explore deeper and the tiny alleyways, dreamy views and all that heat from the Summer sun, leave you happily hypnotised in a French fancy!
Finally, there’s an Aire just across the road to the entrance to the town. Here you can park up for a fee before exploring at your leisure.
3. Annecy – Top 16 places to visit in France
Think about the snow capped mountains of the Alps then throw in one of the cleanest lakes in Europe, next finish off with a delightful whipped cream topping!
Welcome to Annecy and one of the most charming Medieval, canal-lined towns in Europe.
Not only does Annecy have character in every corner but it also has incredible views of an alpine backdrop and a fabulous waterfront. Then there’s the historic old town centre, from floral covered bridges criss-crossing canals to narrow streets leading to quirky antique markets.
Above all, Annecy is a level playing to one of the most scenic locations in Europe – It’s simply a dreamy spot alright!
There’s an Aire close to the Municipal swimming pool within walking distance to the lake and the town itself. Be warned though – it’s a tight squeeze for larger motorhomes.
Read more in our blog: Calais To Italy In A Campervan
4. Lac Sainte Croix – Top 16 places to visit in France
A little further along the road from Moustiers-Sainte-Marievis one eye-catching sight. Yes this is the brilliant blue lake of Sainte Croix and it is breathtaking.
It’s WOW factor all the way, as you cross towards the Gorge du Verdon. Here, the blue waters meander into the narrow chasms of the high gorge walls.
In the heat of a hot Summer, the water’s too tempting to miss. So, why not enjoy a swim, take a picnic or hire a pedalo? It’s all just divine!
Finally, there’s an Aire motorhome parking on the lakeside but it is small, dusty and right next to the road. It also gets full very quickly.
For us, on our most recent visit in 2020, we found it easier to park on the Aire at Moustier-Saint-Marie. We then took a walk along a marked, off-road path to the lake, taking about an hour.
5. Pont du Gard – Top 16 places to visit in France
You’ve got to give it to the Romans, they really did build things well. If you’ve not seen this yet – ask yourself why not?! This place is just awesome, in the most fascinating kind of way.
Building this impeccable structure, 2000 years ago certainly blows the mind away. Imagine hauling those colossal blocks of stone, culminating in the construction of this 160ft mega structure.
So, What was it used for?
Well this is actually an aqueduct which was in use for around 500 years, carrying water to the city of Nimes, over 30 miles away. It’s incredible to think of its historic value and how it’s still truly amazing today.
Lastly, there is motorhome parking at the visitor car park.
The first time we entered this walled town we were smitten. Aigues-Mortes is surrounded by the vast salt marshes of The Camargue region where this walled-town still dominates the landscape.
Thinking back to when we first walked through these walls, it was a hot, bustling July evening with all the atmosphere of Summertime. Inside, the tiny streets were filled with restaurants and shops, spilling out onto the cobbles – that was it, we were hooked!
This was once a busy port but it’s now a few miles from the sea. Although, it still holds all it’s charm in the salty Mediterranean air.
There’s a motorhome Aire just outside the walls, but it is a bit expensive, however, convenience is key to enjoying this fabulous location.
With it’s Van Gogh connection, incredible Roman ruins and all the charms of a Provence town, Arles is just a treat!
In the centre is one of our favourite Roman Arena’s, best of all – as it’s still incredibly intact, its position seems a little more intimate than some other Roman Arena’s.
Just outside the town itself, the Rhone river passes through, where tourist boats sail the wide stretches of water.
The mix of intricate streets combined with so much history makes Arles a pretty neat place to visit, not forgetting the leafy squares where shady benches make for a relaxing stop.
Finally, there’s an Aire on the opposite side of the river bank but unfortunately it’s not that appealing. However, it is within walking distance to the centre.
This is a little gem of a village which is perched high above the Cote d’Azur and one that oozes character, class and charm at every angle.
Ezé is a tiny village, consisting of narrow stone and cobble alleyways all with a luxury appeal. There’s stunning views flowing out across the Mediterranean Sea, whilst very upmarket accommodation tempts you out of the campervan!
It’s a great place to explore on a hot Summer evening as the sun begins to set – you’ll be sure that you won’t want to leave!
Lastly, in the evening there is parking at the entrance to the village but you’d need to check out overnight places to stop. We visited from Cannes where we stayed on a campsite on the outskirts of this big name resort.
9. Pont d’Arc
The Ardèche river weaves its way through the Gorges de l’Ardéche, where canoeing, rafting and all things water related are offered. The biggest attraction though is a natural one – the beautiful Pont d’Arc.
We love this natural limestone arch of the Pond d’Arc itself that spans the river. There’s a perfect viewpoint from the road above, enabling you to look down over water and the famous natural arch.
In actual fact, this whole area is a scenic paradise and in Summer it’s just wonderful, where swimming and canoeing is the big appeal.
There’s a pretty little beach section below the arch, where you can spend a lazy afternoon watching all the activities on the river.
Finally, there’s a campsite just up the road where we stayed the night, adding to the convenience of not having to think about parking the van.
The historic town of Hyères is rather beautiful but in addition to the town, you’ll find a coastal peninsula full of inlets and clear blue sea, which is simply idyllic.
Along the peninsula is a coastal walkway which leads through shaded pines taking you to some incredible little rocky bays. Above all, the crystal clear blue and green waters of the Mediterranean Sea is just too tempting to miss.
This area is low-key and feels such a great place to relax. Even better is the off peak season, when you’ll find an inlet all for yourself.
We stayed at Camping Olbia as there aren’t really any Aires on the peninsula but there is an Aire just outside the town.
11. The Chateaux of The Loire
It’s too difficult to choose just one castle on the Loire, they are all simply too gorgeous. So all castles of the Loire make the list!
These fabulous palatial masterpieces will certainly bring enough fairytale magic to last a lifetime! Not only that but fields of sunflowers, plenty of wine and some excellent cycle routes make for a really enjoyable stay.
The Loire is a fascinating region, combining lots of extra magic along the route, not forgetting the mighty Loire River flowing through the landscapes.
Finally, there are some Aires located throughout the region along with plenty of campsite options.
Read more in our blog piece: A Campervan Tour in The Loire Valley
It’s one of the most famous of all French resorts but is St.Tropez really full of hype and celebrity super yachts? Or is there a little more to this international hot spot?
We think if you see beyond the day trippers, the flashy images and superstar appeal there’s a very different side to this charming harbour town.
St.Tropez is actually full of character at it’s core. There’s also some superb beaches and a really nice coastal walkway through it’s more natural surroundings too.
We have to say, we really like it here and there’s always the people watching to keep you entertained too!
Finally, there’s not much in the way of Aires any more but there are some good campsites within cycling distance.
There’s also the long-standing Aire at Ramatuelle beach, for those wanting the sea and sand to keep them entertained. Top 9 Resorts of The French Riviera
13. The D-Day Landing Beaches
The Normandy beaches are heart-wrenching yet so educational and well worth a visit to witness the events that occurred here during the Second World War. It’s possibly the most compelling of sights and incredibly fascinating, perhaps due to being such a recent part of our history.
Not forgetting, the emotional rollercoaster that this part of France takes you through. The enormity of the sacrifices made here on these beaches is forever etched on our memory.
There are Aires to choose from in this region along with plenty of campsites and it’s also worth noting that it is a good all-year destination – don’t expect hot weather in Winter though!
14. The Battlefields of The Somme
The battlefields and the blood bath of the Somme is engrained in the history of so many nations.
Remembering those who lost their lives to the horrors of the war in the mud of the trenches is heart-wrenching but educational. Painfully, those men could never have envisaged such horror and paying a visit to the sights of the Somme is quite an extraordinary experience.
Driving through this region brings home to you the savage losses where the earth beneath holds the resting place of so many. The Battlefields of The Somme
15. Le Grand Bornand and The Alps
This is our favourite place in the French Alps but the whole French Alps region is equally fabulous.
Whatever the season Le Grand Bornand is full of Alpine charm, along with excellent skiing and Summer hiking. In addition, the quaint wooden chalets add to the ambiance of the surrounding mountains.
It’s a sleepy sort of place, with not much going on except for the occasional sound of cattle bells from the grazing cows. Which, by the way, must be thanked for the fabulous cheeses produced here!
Those church bells ringing at dawn and the sweet smell of cooking coming form the open fire are delightful. Last but not least, there’s a really good Winter campsite here which had us returning year on year! We’ve more details in our blog piece Campsites For A Ski Trip In A Campervan .
So, hopefully, you’ll just love this place too but don’t tell everyone all at once!
It’s the citadel that everyone’s heard about but this place is one big, touristy location that can get very hot inside those walls.
However, this is just one of those tick box towns that you just have to go to and it’s actually rather lovely.
Not least because of it’s character architecture at every angle. There’s a maze of busy streets running through the walls meaning you can’t help but get cosy with the crowd in the hot summer months!
Not forgetting, it’s a UNESCO status – being totally medieval, therefore it’s certain to be totally intriguing and utterly irresistible in every way.
Finally, once again, there’s an Aire outside the walls, so you can park up and relax once the sightseeing is over.
Feature image: The Himalaya Bridge Walk – feature coming soon – subscribe below for new posts to your inbox:
- Le Grand-Bornand
- Pont d’Arc
- Pont du Gard
- Lac De Sainte Croix – Gorges Du Verdon
- Le Palais Ideal du Facteur Cheval
- Canal du Midi
- La Camargue
Top 16 places to visit in France more inspiration!
Top 16 Places to Visit in France:
- Avignon – In the South of France, has the Pont d’Avignon, Palais des Papes (Pope’s Palace) and bustling Summer street life.
- Burgundy – Following the Wine Route through the vineyards from Dijon to Beaune.
- Alsace – Colmar, Mulhouse & Wine Routes.
- St Paul de Vence, a favourite of Winston Churchill and his paintings of the medieval town.
- The Dordogne – Sarlat, Beynac, La Roque-Gageac, Perigueux, Rocamadour.
- Canal du Midi – From Toulouse to Séte, following the canal to the Mediterranean, don’t miss the locks at Béziers!
- The Camargue – Full of life, it’s all about the locals, the traditions, the sea and the wild horses and bull-fighting territory.
- The Pink Granite Coast, In the North of France, In Brittany – from Plestin-Les-Gréves to Louannec.
- Cassis – Incredibly charming fishing port with Les Calanques, intricate narrow inlets of limestone cliffs which flow into the sea.
- Cannes, Nice and Monaco – All worth the effort. Follow the jet-set into the world of the high life Billionaire lifestyles of the rich and famous.
- Antibes and Cap Ferrat – Drive the luxurious Cap, stop at Antibes for a wonder, good shops, beaches and cafe culture.
- Chamonix – The Aiguille du Midi cable car, not for the faint-hearted! Views of Mont Blanc and the Mer de Glace glacier railway.
- Nimes – Roman ampitheater, Maison Carrée and Tour Magne.
- Glanum at Saint-Rémy-de-Provence – A fascinating Roman colony.
- Oradour-Sur-Glane – The tragic destruction by SS Panzer, of the village and 642 inhabitants in June 1944, has been left as a memorial in its destroyed state since that day.
- Carnac – The home to around 3000 megaliths!
Thanks for reading – Top 16 Places to Visit in France – More blog posts:
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